Old cars in Bayou St. John complicate search for missing teacher's vehicle

Published: Mar. 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2013 at 9:50 PM CDT
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The owner of a Texas search company says he's bringing in bigger sonar units on Sunday. EquuSearch is combing area waterways for a missing teacher.

Tim Miller of EquuSearch says the same equipment used in the Natalee Holloway investigation in Aruba will be brought here.

Now the company is moving its efforts to find Terrilynn Monette to the bridge by Robert E. Lee, looking for any sign of Monette's black Honda.

So many cars are under the waters of the bayou, though, it's making their job trickier.

"We have seen many cars under the water. They are not all in clusters. Some of them are older than others and actually on the sonar machine you can see barnacles growing off of them," said Caitlyn Garey of EquuSearch.

Crews face challenges as they look for any sign of Terrilynn Monette or her car beneath miles of bayou.  There are so many other vehicles under the water.

"I think we got 11 or 12 in there, all along the bayou," said Tim Miller.

The search crew says the cars may have been stolen, left over from Katrina, or dumped for some other reason.

Technology called side scan sonar bounces sound waves off objects to create images. Miller says the sonar reacts differently to new cars that are freshly buried under water. T

Finding so many cars in the water can definitely slow a search. Every car must be tagged with a heavy magnet attached to a buoy. Divers follow the line to the magnet to find the car.

It is meticulous work for a crew that specializes in finding the lost loved ones of others.  But beneath Bayou St. John, there are cars whose stories remain untold.